The following release is from Motorcycling Australia…
The 2003 Speedway World Championship has a new leader, Australian Jason Crump.
The 28-year-old world number two finished second in the penultimate round at Bydgoszcz in Poland on September 20, a result good enough to displace Tony Rickardsson at the head of the championship table.
Crump, an eight-time grand prix winner, is now on 133 points with one round remaining, just one point ahead of Danish rider Nicki Pedersen, who maintained his hold on second in the title after finishing third at the 25,000-seat Polonia Stadium. Rickardsson (121pts), meanwhile, was the antitheses of Crump as he dropped from first to third after finishing a lacklustre seventh.
Victory in round eight went to Polish rider Tomasz Gollob, his fifth victory in his home grand prix. Another Pole, Piotr Protasiewicz, followed Crump and Pedersen home in fourth.
“It’s been a hard slog all year, but to finally wrest the championship lead is a magical feeling,” said Crump, who rode with a shoulder injury after a crash in Italy the week before. “And it’s going to be just as hard at the final round in Norway, but I wouldn’t expect anything else”.
“It is going to be a real test of character, that’s for sure.”
Crump, who has won two GPs this year, labelled Poland “a really tough night” as he struggled with set-up with his factory Jawa. His zenith came with a brilliant victory in his semi-final from Pedersen, while it was a Polish quinella Gollob and Protasiewicz in the other sudden-death semi.
“In the final, I got away last, but I worked my way into second by the end of the opening lap,” said Crump. “However, in all reality, in the type of form Gollob was in tonight, we were all racing for second. On that score, I’m rapt with my second place, and it’s even sweeter that I’m the new championship leader.”
Of the other Aussies in action, Leigh Adams was eliminated at the semi-final stage, but still remains fourth in the title on 118pts, ahead of a resurgent Gollob (100) and 1997 world champion Greg Hancock (96). Meanwhile, Ryan Sullivan, Todd Wiltshire and Jason Lyons filled positions 19-21, with Sullivan the best of the troika in championship terms he’s eighth on 87pts.
The ninth and final round of the Speedway World Championship will be held at Hamar in Norway on October 4, as Crump, a dual world number two, chases Australia’s first title since Jack Young in 1952.
Round eight results
1 Tomasz Gollob
2 Jason Crump
3 Nicki Pedersen
4 Piotr Protasiewicz
5 Lee Richardson
6 Jaroslaw Hampel
7 Leigh Adams
8 Tony Rickardsson
9 Greg Hancock
10. Rune Holta